Xiaomi

Xiaomi releases MIUI 12 global update with more privacy controls, revamped user interface

Posted by | Android, Apps, Asia, miui, POCO, Redmi, Xiaomi | No Comments

Xiaomi on Tuesday unveiled the global version of MIUI 12, the latest update to its Android -based operating system, for hundreds of millions of smartphones as the Chinese electronics giant pushes to broaden its services ecosystem.

The world’s fourth largest smartphone firm said it is delivering a range of new features to its overseas users with MIUI 12, including a revamped user interface, the ability to cast the phone screen without the need to connect it to a computer, improvement to multitasking support and battery life and more privacy controls to users.

Chief among the new changes is how the software looks. A company executive said animation renders slightly differently after installing MIUI 12, stretching more naturally across the screen — especially on smartphones with rounded corners — as a user taps on an app.

Xiaomi has been able to deliver this graphical improvement thanks to what it calls “kernel-level innovation” that includes a new rendering engine, she said.

“With our rendering, we have enabled color blending and Gaussian blur. You can see various degrees of blurring happening in real time as light penetrates different materials,” explained Louisa Jia, head of marketing and operations of Global MIUI, at an event today.

MIUI 12, which is built atop Android 9 and Android 10 (depending on the device on which it will be rolled out), also changes how storage, memory and power consumption usage are displayed on the phone, making it easier for users to quickly understand the state of their device at a glance.

As part of the new coat of paint, Xiaomi is also deploying dark mode across all third-party apps, including those that have not introduced support for this feature yet.

Support for multitasking is also getting an improvement, popping any additional app on a floating screen that users can move around to any part of the screen and engage quickly without having to switch from the game or other app that they were focusing on. The company said it is also introducing an “ultra battery saver” feature that kicks in when the level of phone charge hits 5%. The new feature shuts off every non-essential service to deliver an additional five hours of battery life.

Privacy

Another interesting feature the company is introducing grants more privacy control to users. MIUI 12 will allow users to easily monitor and restrict apps from using the camera, microphone, location, contacts, storage, call history and calendar.

Whenever an app uses any of these, a persistent icon appears in the notification bar, tapping which will allow users to see which app is using this data and easily shut that access. Additionally, like with newer versions of Android and iOS, MIUI 12 gives users the ability to determine how often an app can access sensitive personal information.

Xiaomi said with MIUI 12, it is also providing users with the ability to strip off sensitive information, such as location data from a photo before they share it with their friends. By default, the new operating system will strip off such data from photos — a feature that privacy advocates have long desired, and business communication app Slack recently introduced to its service.

MIUI 12 will roll out to select smartphones — Mi 9, Mi 9T, Mi 9T Pro, Redmi K20 and Redmi K20 Pro — at the end of June, and dozens of smartphone models, including Poco F1 and Redmi 6, that were launched in 2018, “soon afterward,” said Jia. The company said it will make a beta version of MIUI 12 available to users next week for those who don’t want to wait too long.

More than 300 million smartphones ran MIUI software at the end of last year, Xiaomi revealed in its most recent earnings call in late March. The company previously stated that it is banking on MIUI to expand its services ecosystem as it looks to cut its financial reliance on sales of gadgets.

In 2018, Xiaomi started to display ads in the lockscreen and settings app to users in India and select other markets.

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Fitbit’s Chinese rival Amazfit mulls a transparent, self-disinfecting mask

Posted by | Asia, biotech, China, Gadgets, GoPro, huami, huawei, shenzhen, smartwatch, TC, wearable devices, Xiaomi | No Comments

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a wave of Chinese companies with manufacturing operations to produce virus-fighting equipment: Shenzhen-based electric vehicle giant BYD quickly moved to launch what it claims to be the world’s largest mask plant; Hangzhou-based voice intelligence startup Rokid is making thermal imaging glasses targeted at the US market; and many more.

The latest of such efforts comes from Huami, the NASDAQ-listed wearables startup that makes Xiaomi’s Mi Bands and sells its own fitness tracking watches under the Amazfit brand in more than 70 countries. In a phone interview with TechCrunch, the firm said it is developing a see-through plastic mask with built-in ultraviolet lights that can disinfect filters within 10 minutes when connected to a power supply through a USB port. The caveat is that the lights only sanitize the inside of the mask and users still have to clean the outer surface themselves.

The Aeri concept comes with built-in ultraviolet lights that can disinfect filters within 10 minutes when connected to a power supply through a USB port.

Called Aeri, the mask uses removable filters that are on par with N95 filtration capacity. If the concept materializes, each filter could last up to a month and a half, significantly longer than the average life of surgical masks and N95 respirators. The modular design allows for customized accessories such as a fan for breathable comfort, hence the mask’s name Aeri, a homophone of “airy”.

Aeri started from the premise that wearing masks could thwart the increasingly common adoption of facial recognition. That said, imaging companies have been working on biometric upgrades to allow analyses of other facial features such as irises or the tip of noses.

Aeri might still have a market appeal though, argued Pengtao Yu, vice president of industrial design at Huami. “Whether people need to unlock their phones or not, they want to see each other’s faces at social occasions,” said Yu, the California-based Chinese designer who had served clients including Nest Labs, Roku, GoPro and Huawei prior to joining Huami.

Huami’s U.S. operation, which focuses on research and development, opened in 2014 and now counts a dozen of employees.

Many companies turning to pandemic-fighting manufacturing have taken a hit from their core business, but Huami has managed to stay afloat. Its Q1 revenue was up 36% year-over-year to hit $154 million, although net income decreased to $2.7 million from $10.6 million. Its stocks have been declining, however, sliding from a high point of $16 in January to around $10 in mid-May.

Huami is in the process of prototyping the Aeri masks. In Shenzhen, which houses the wearables company’s headquarters, the development cycle for hardware products — from ideation to market rollout — takes as short as 6-12 months thanks to the city’s rich supply chain resources, said Yu.

Huami hasn’t priced Aeri at this early stage, but Yu admitted that the masks are targeting the “mass consumer market” around the world, not only for protection against viruses but also everyday air pollution, rather than appealing to medical workers. Given Huami’s history of making wearables at thin margins, it won’t be surprising that Aeri will be competitively priced.

The Aeri project is part of Huami’s pivot to enter the general health sector beyond pure fitness monitoring. The company has recently teamed up with a laboratory led by Dr. Zhong Nanshan, the public face of China’s fight against COVID-19, to track respiratory diseases using wearables. It’s also in talks with the German public health authority to collaborate on a smartwatch-powered virus monitoring app, the company told TechCrunch.

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Xiaomi spinoff POCO’s F2 Pro undercuts Android rivals with low price and flagship features

Posted by | Amazon, Android, Asia, hardware, Mobile, POCO, Qualcomm, smartphones, Sony, Xiaomi | No Comments

POCO, a brand that spun out of Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi earlier this year, today launched the POCO F2 Pro smartphone as it continues its new journey as an independent firm.

The POCO F2 Pro, like its two-year-old sleeper hit predecessor Pocophone F1 smartphone, punches above its price class. It features an all-screen 6.67-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display (with 2400×1080 pixels), in-screen fingerprint scanner, support for 5G, quad-core rear camera setup and a pop-up front camera that quietly tucks away when not in use. It also features a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The smartphone comes in two variants: one with 6GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage that is priced at €499 (roughly $540), and the other that features 8GB of RAM and 256GB internal storage that costs €599 (roughly $650).

Both the variants run Android 10 and are going on sale globally starting Tuesday through Gearbest and Aliexpress e-commerce sites. POCO said it will soon begin selling the POCO F2 Pro on Amazon, Lazada and Shopee among other e-commerce sites, including its official website.

The dual-SIM card-supported smartphone, a popular feature in several Asian markets, is powered by Qualcomm’s flagship octa-core Snapdragon 865 processor, coupled with Adreno 650GPU. POCO F2 Pro also sports what the company claims to be the largest vapor chamber in any smartphone to support LiquidCool, a technology that keeps the device cool even when a user is playing high-end games such as Fortnite and PUBG.

A total score of 589,983.

CPU Benchmark score of 184,817.

GFXbench Manhattan 4.0 benchmark score of 40.

Yes, the #POCOF2Pro is simply #PowerfullyCool! pic.twitter.com/KgyHJt2dI4

— POCO (@POCOGlobal) May 12, 2020

On the camera front, the POCO F2 Pro features a 64MP Sony IMX686 sensor, which serves as the primary camera, with a 13MP ultra wide-angle lens, a 5MP macro and one 2MP depth sensor. The pop-up camera, which serves as the selfie sensor, is a 20MP lens. The rear camera setup is capable of recording videos in 8K resolution at 24fps, and 4K in 60fps.

The POCO F2 Pro, which comes in Neon Blue, Electric Purple, Cyber Grey, Phantom White, houses a 4,700mAh battery with support for fast charging, and ships with a 33W charger in the box.

POCO listed a number of additional features that other flagship Android smartphones offer, such as support for HDR10+, display brightness of 500 nits, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 that protects the screen and an IR blaster. But its display lacks support for 120Hz refresh rate — as seen on OnePlus 8T Pro that makes viewing experience extra smooth.

POCO F2 Pro is the second smartphone from the company since it spun out of Xiaomi earlier this year. The company’s first product, called Pocophone F1, launched in 2018 and was well received by the market.

At the time of the launch, Xiaomi executives said they had big plans for the POCO brand but never launched anything afterward. During the period the company also saw a big departure when Jai Mani, a senior product executive, left the firm. Earlier this year, the company launched the mid-range POCO X2 smartphone in India.

POCO executives today shared little plans on what the future holds for the firm, but assured that they are here to stay. “We’re back. It’s been awhile, but we are back,” said Angus Ng, a product marketing manager at POCO.

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Xiaomi, Samsung and others begin to resume smartphone production in India

Posted by | Apple, Asia, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid19, Foxconn, Gadgets, hardware, oppo, Samsung, vivo, wistron, Xiaomi | No Comments

Xiaomi, Vivo, Samsung, Oppo and other smartphone companies have received approval from some state governments in India to partially resume manufacturing and assembling of devices amid the ongoing lockdown in the world’s second largest handset market that completely shut operations at these plants in late March.

The companies said that they have secured permission to kick start their manufacturing operations in the country, though several restrictions such as operating with limited workforce are still in place. (The federal government allowed the resumption of smartphone production earlier this month, but state governments have the final say on whether the local conditions are safe enough to enforce the relaxation.)

New Delhi’s decision comes days after it extended the lockdown by two weeks earlier this month but eased some restrictions to revive economic activity that’s been stalled since the stringent stay-at-home orders were imposed across the nation in late March.

Earlier this week, the government permitted e-commerce firms and ride-hailing services to resume services in green and orange zones, districts that have seen less severe outbreak of the coronavirus, across the country. Green and orange zones account for 82% of India’s 733 districts.

Xiaomi, which launched a range of gadgets in India today including its Snapdragon 865-powered Mi 10 smartphone, said earlier this month that it only had inventory to meet demand for up to three weeks.

Manu Kumar Jain, a VP at Xiaomi who oversees the Chinese firm’s business in India, said today that the company, which has been the top smartphone vendor in the country for more than two years, would restart operations in its contract partner Foxconn’s facility in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

A person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that Wistron, a contract partner of Apple, has started limited operations for the iPhone-maker in Bangalore.

Vivo, the second largest smartphone vendor in India, said the company will resume production at 30% of their capacity. “We shall begin production with around 3,000 employees,” a Vivo spokesperson said.

Like Vivo, Oppo will also resume production at its Greater Noida facility with around 3,000 employees who would work in rotation, it said. Samsung, which opened the world’s biggest smartphone factory in India in 2018, said it will restart production in that factory.

“On Thursday, the factory started limited operations, which will be scaled up over a period of time. Employee safety and well-being remaining our absolute priority, we have ensured that all hygiene and social distancing measures are maintained at the premises, as per government guidelines,” said a Samsung spokesperson.

The coronavirus outbreak has severely disrupted several businesses. India did not see any handset sale last month, according to research firm Counterpoint. Counterpoint estimated that the smartphone shipments in India will decline by 10% this year, compared to a 8.9% growth in 2019 and 10% growth in 2018.

Every top smartphone maker in India has either established its own manufacturing plant or partnered with contract vendors to produce units locally in recent years to avail the tax benefits that New Delhi offers.

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Xiaomi launches Mi Commerce in India to boost sales amid lockdown

Posted by | Amazon, Asia, coronavirus, counterpoint, COVID-19, Covid19, eCommerce, Gadgets, Samsung, Walmart, Xiaomi | No Comments

Xiaomi today launched a new e-commerce service in India that allows people in the nation to easily browse and order its handsets and other products from nearby physical retail stores as the Chinese giant rushes to kickstart its sales in its biggest overseas market.

Dubbed Mi Commerce, the service allows people to locate nearby stores that are either run by Xiaomi or those that have tie-ups with the company and browse smartphones, TVs, electric lamps, and a range of other products.

Users can express their “interest” to purchase the selected item through the app that would prompt the retail store to place a confirmation call. The retail store would deliver the item and then process the payment, Xiaomi said. A spokesperson told TechCrunch that Mi Commerce is available only in India currently.

Xiaomi has also launched a WhatsApp Business account that operates on a similar flow. Users can send a message to +91 8861826286 to initiate the conversation with retail stores through Facebook-owned service.

The shift to what is often described in the industry as an online to offline model comes as Xiaomi, like other smartphone vendors, looks to make up its lost sales in recent weeks. India ordered a nationwide lockdown in late March that shut retail shops, and restricted e-commerce firms to only service grocery orders.

According to Hong Kong-headquartered research firm Counterpoint, no smartphone units were sold in India, the world’s second largest smartphone market, in April.

In a call with reporters, Xiaomi executives said they were hopeful that the Indian market would attain at least 80% of its momentum by the end of the year. Counterpoint slashed its smartphone projections for India last month, saying it now expects the market to shrink by 10% this year. Indian smartphone market has consistently grown year-by-year in the last decade.

Mi Commerce would additionally also help potential customers maintain social distance and avoid errands to stores that would otherwise expose them to novel coronavirus.

Xiaomi said it was working with the government for an update on the resumption of smartphone manufacturing plants that are also shut since the lockdown was ordered in March. The company executives said they currently have inventory to meet demand for three to four months.

The Chinese giant is also providing working capital to its retail store partners, it said.

Samsung, which lost the tentpole position in India’s smartphone market to Xiaomi in 2018 and recently the second spot to Vivo, did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment on any similar efforts it has made — or not made — in India.

On Monday, e-commerce firms including Amazon and Walmart in India resumed their service for people in more than 80% zip codes in the country. A lockdown would remain in place for another two weeks in India, but New Delhi has eased some restrictions.

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India’s Glance tops 100M daily active users in 21 months

Posted by | Android, Apps, Asia, InMobi, LG, Roposo, Samsung, Social, Software, Xiaomi | No Comments

Glance, which serves media content, news and casual games on the lock screen of Android -powered smartphones, has amassed 100 million daily active users, it said today.

The subsidiary of ad-firm InMobi Group reached the milestone in 21 months in what appears to be the shortest duration for any popular internet service to gain their first 100 million daily active users, said Naveen Tewari, founder and chief executive of InMobi Group, in an interview with TechCrunch.

Glance uses AI to offer personalized experience to its users. The service replaces the otherwise empty lock screen with locally relevant news, stories, and casual games. Late last year, InMobi acquired Roposo, a Gurgaon-headquartered startup, that has enabled it to introduce short-form videos on the platform.

“Introducing short-form videos and games on Glance has helped us increase the engagement level. About 25% of our users actively play games on Glance,” said Tewari. The firm is now working to make these short-form videos available in many local languages. (You can also try the service on your mobile web browser or through its preview app on Google Play Store.)

Glance ships pre-installed on several smartphone models. The subsidiary maintains tie-ups with nearly every top Android smartphone vendor including Xiaomi, the top player in India, and Samsung.

But users can easily disable the service, said Tewari, adding that the 100 million users the firm is reporting today are those who consciously engage with content on Glance. Users spend about 25 minutes consuming content on Glance each day, he said.

Sitting on the lock screen, perhaps the most coveted real estate on a smartphone to reach a user, has allowed Glance to deliver any information to a very large number of users in a short time. Tewari said more than 50 million users reacted to Glance informing them about India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech last month surrounding the lockdown in the country, for instance.

“We are not just a short-form video platform. We are not just a gaming platform nor one that serves just news. Given where we sit, we cater to nearly everything that is out there across the world. So everyone has something to consume,” he said.

The service is currently available in India, its biggest market with more than 80 million users, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. Tewari said the firm plans to roll out Glance across the globe in the next two years.

Glance, which raised $45 million last year, is currently not monetizing its users. Tewari said he has experimented with a few ideas, but won’t make any push on this front for another one to two quarters.

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Indian smartphone market grew by 4% in Q1, but projected to decline by 10% this year

Posted by | Apple, Asia, China, coronavirus, COVID-19, Covid19, Gadgets, Mobile, Motorola, Samsung Electronics, smartphone, smartphones, vivo, Xiaomi | No Comments

India has emerged as one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the last decade, reporting growth each quarter even as handset shipments slowed or declined elsewhere globally. But the world’s second largest smartphone is beginning to feel the coronavirus heat, too.

The Indian smartphone market grew by a modest 4% year-over-year in the quarter that ended on March 31, research firm Counterpoint said Friday evening. The shipment grew annually in January and February, when several firms launched their smartphones and unveiled aggressive promotional plans.

But in March the shipment saw a 19% year-over-year dip, the firm said. Counterpoint estimated that the smartphone shipments in India will decline by 10% this year, compared to a 8.9% growth in 2019 and 10% growth in 2018.

The research firm also cautioned that India’s lockdown, ordered last month, has severely slowed down the local smartphone industry and it may take seven to eight months to get back on track. Currently, only select items such as grocery products are permitted to be sold in India.

Prachir Singh, Senior Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research, said the COVID-19 impact on India was relatively mild until mid-March. “However, economic activities declined as people save money in expectation of an extended period of uncertainty and an almost complete lockdown. Almost all smartphone manufacturing has been suspended. Further, with the social distancing norms, factories will be running at lower capacities even after the lockdown is lifted,” he said.

Overall, 31 million smartphone units shipped in India in Q1 2020. Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which has held the tentpole position in what has become its biggest market globally for more than two years, widened its lead to command 30% of the market.

Vivo’s share grew to 17%, up from 12% during the same period last year. Samsung, which once led the Indian market, now sits at the third spot with 16% market share, down from 24% in Q1 2019. Apple maintained its recent momentum and grew by a strong 78% year-over-year in Q1 this year. It now commands 55% of the premium smartphone segment (handsets priced at $600 or above.).

More than 100 smartphone plants in India assemble or produce about 700,000 to 800,000 handsets a day, some of which are exported outside of the country. But the lockdown has halted the production and could cost the industry more than $3 billion to $4 billion in direct loss this year.

“We often draw parallels between India and China. But in China, their factories have adopted automation at various levels, something that is not the case in India,” said Tarun Pathak, a senior analyst at Counterpoint, earlier this week.

China, where smartphone sales declined by 38% annually in February this year, has already started to see recovery. Xiaomi said last month that its phone factories were already operating at more than 80% of their capacity. Globally, smartphone shipment declined by 14% in February, according to Counterpoint.

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Chinese firms rush to bring 5G smartphones to India

Posted by | 5g, Android, Asia, Gadgets, hardware, india, oppo, Qualcomm, Realme, smartphones, vivo, Xiaomi | No Comments

India is unlikely to have any substantial coverage of 5G until at least the end of next year, with telecom operators in the country yet to participate in a spectrum auction. But that hasn’t stopped Chinese vendors Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi from bringing 5G-enabled smartphones to the world’s second largest handset market.

Xiaomi, Vivo’s sub-brand iQoo and Oppo’s sub-brand Realme have all moved in tandem to unveil their 5G smartphones in the last week. While Xiaomi, which has been the top handset vendor in India for more than two years, only showcased its recently unveiled 5G-enabled MiMix Alpha smartphone at several of its physical stores in the country, the other two companies have moved to launch new phones.

Vivo, India’s second largest phone vendor, launched the iQoo 3, which features a 6.44-inch display with screen resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels, 4,440 mAh battery (with support for 55W fast charging ), and runs Android 10. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, coupled with 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage. It sports four rear cameras — 48MP main shooter, 13MP telephoto, 13MP ultra-wide and 2MP depth-sensor — and a 16MP selfie sensor.

The phone’s prices start at 36,990 Indian rupees ($515), which goes up to 44,990 ($627) Indian rupees for variants with additional storage and memory.

Realme, which is giving the top phone makers a run for their money in India, launched the X50 Pro 5G that features a 6.44-inch display of screen resolution and 1080 x 2400 pixels with support for 90Hz refresh rate. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC, coupled with 12GB of RAM and a 4,200 mAh battery with 65W Super Dart charging support.

On the photography front, it houses a 65MP primary shooter, 8MP ultra-wide sensor, 12MP telephoto shooter and a 2MP portrait sensor. On the front is a setup of duo-selfie sensors of 32MP and 8MP.

The Realme X50 Pro 5G is priced at 37,999 Indian rupees ($530), which goes as high as 44,999 Indian rupees ($627) for variants with additional storage and memory.

Executives at the companies said that the rationale behind launching a 5G phone so ahead of time was to offer future-proof devices. Additionally, Qualcomm also requires phone vendors to use X55 5G modem if they want to use its flagship Snapdragon 865 SoC.

An executive with Poco, which recently spun out of Xiaomi, also chimed in:

5G

Now that we have your attention. Just letting you know – we’re here to give you everything you need, nothing you don’t. pic.twitter.com/wdWYQMduON

— C Manmohan (@cmanmohan) February 24, 2020

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Sony to pull out of MWC over coronavirus outbreak

Posted by | Amazon, barcelona, China, coronavirus, Ericsson, Europe, gsma, LG, Mobile, mobile world congress, mwc, nvidia, Sony, spain, TC, telecommunications, wireless, world health organization, Xiaomi, zte | No Comments

Japanese electronics firm Sony is the latest phone maker to announce it’s withdrawing from the Mobile World Congress (MWC) tradeshow, citing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

“As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain,” Sony wrote in a press release.

MWC is due to take place in Barcelona between February 24-27.

Sony said it will now run a press conference planned for the event via its official Xperia YouTube channel at the scheduled time of 8:30 AM (CET) on February 24.

“Sony would like to thank everyone for their understanding and ongoing support during these challenging times,” it added.

In recent days, a number of companies have announced they’re pulling out or scaling back their presence at the conference as a result of concerns about the spread of the virus, including Amazon, Ericsson, LG, NVIDIA and ZTE.

The World Health Organization dubbed the emergence and spread of the novel coronavirus a global emergency late last month.

At the time of writing, the majority of infections and deaths from the virus remain in China, where the virus was first identified in the town of Wuhan in the Hubei province.

Several Chinese tech companies, including ZTE and Xiaomi, have said they will make changes to their participation in MWC related to coronavirus concerns, such as placing limits on staff travelling from China or requiring they self isolate in the period before attending.

Yesterday the organizers of MWC, the GSMA, also announced stringent rules to try to safeguard attendees, including a ban on travellers from Hubei and a requirement that all travellers who have been in China must be able to prove they have been outside the country 14 days prior to the event.

Attendees will also be required to self-certify they have not been in contact with anyone affected, the GSMA said. Temperature screening will also be implemented at the event.

Last year the annual mobile tech conference drew almost 110,000 attendees from 198 countries.

“While further planning is underway, we will continue to monitor the situation and will adapt our plans according to developments and advice we receive. We are contending with a constantly evolving situation, that will require fast adaptability,” the GSMA also said.

Attendance at MWC has regularly broken 100,000 in recent years, but 2020’s conference seems likely to mark a break with business as usual as companies face pressure to rethink their travel priorities.

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Twitter-backed ShareChat eyes fantasy sports in India

Posted by | Apps, Asia, dream11, Facebook, Gaming, Hotstar, india, sequoia capital, sharechat, Social, Twitter, Xiaomi | No Comments

The growing market of fantasy sports in India may soon have a new and odd entrant: ShareChat .

The local social networking app, which in August last year raised $100 million in a financing round led by Twitter, has developed a fantasy sports app and has been quietly testing it for six months, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

ShareChat’s fantasy sports app, called Jeet11, allows betting on cricket and football matches and has already amassed more than 120,000 registered users, the sources said. The app, or its website, does not disclose its association with ShareChat.

A ShareChat spokesperson confirmed the existence of the app and said the startup was testing the product.

Jeet11 is not available for download on the Google Play Store due to the Android maker’s guidelines on betting apps, so ShareChat has been distributing it through Xiaomi’s GetApps app store and the Jeet11 website, and has been promoting it on Instagram. It is also available as a web app.

Fantasy sports, a quite popular business in many markets, has gained some traction in India in recent years. Dream11, backed by gaming giant Tencent, claimed to have more than 65 million users early last year. It has raised about $100 million to date and is already valued north of $1 billion.

Bangalore-based MPL, which counts Sequoia Capital India as an investor and has raised more than $40 million, appointed Virat Kohli, the captain of the Indian cricket team, as its brand ambassador last year.

In the last two years, scores of startups have emerged to grab a slice of the market, and the vast majority of them are focused on cricket. Cricket is the most popular sport in India, just ask Disney’s Hotstar, which claimed to have more than 100 million daily active users during the cricket season last year.

Or ask Facebook, which unsuccessfully bid $600 million to secure streaming rights of the IPL cricket tournament. It has since grabbed rights to some cricket content and appointed the Hotstar chief as its India head.

So it comes as no surprise that many sports betting apps have signed cricketers as their brand ambassador. Hala-Play has roped in Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya, while Chennai-based Fantain Sports has appointed Suresh Raina.

But despite the growing popularity of fantasy sports apps, where users pick players and bet real money on their performances, the niche is still sketchy in many markets that consider it betting. In fact, Twitter itself restricts promotion of fantasy sports services in many markets across the world.

In India, too, several states, including Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Telangana, have banned fantasy sports betting. Jeet11 currently requires users to confirm that they don’t live in any of the restricted states before signing up for the service.

“It doesn’t help matters either that the fantasy sports business’ attempts at legitimacy involve trying to be seen as video games — a cursory glance at a speakers panel for any Indian video game developer event is evidence of this — rather than riding on its own merits,” said Rishi Alwani, a long-time analyst of Indian gaming market and publisher of news outlet the Mako Reactor.

An executive who works at one of the top fantasy sports startups in India, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that despite handing out cash rewards to thousands of users each day, it is still challenging to retain customers after the conclusion of any popular cricket tournament. “And that’s after you have somehow convinced them to visit your website or download the app,” he said.

For ShareChat, which has been exploring ways to monetize its 60 million-plus users and posted a loss of about $58 million on no revenue in the financial year ending March 31, that’s anything but music to the ears. In recent months, the startup, which serves users in more than a dozen local languages, has been experimenting with ads.

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